Adorable Audi: 2009 2010 TTS Roadster


    For a mid-summer run on the Berkshire back roads to a Saturday evening performance by the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, it would be difficult to beat my TTS roadster. The top was down, the stereo was pumping out classical tunes from Sirius satellite radio, and the brilliant red TTS was the best looking car on the road — though not so good looking as to attract the attention of any Massachusetts state police, who were anyway otherwise engaged directing concert-going traffic.

    The “S” designation identifies the sport version of the well-known TT roadster. An $8,200 bump in the base price gets you a pumped-up version of Audi’s 2.0 liter turbocharged engine that puts out 265 horsepower (vs. 200 hp in the TT) as well as a host of appearance features like 19-inch 7 twin-spoke wheels. Audi doesn’t make any ugly cars, and the front end, with a body-colored bar bisecting the iconic horseshoe grille, is the brand’s best looking.

    The Quattro all-wheel drive system keeps the TTS planted through the tightest curves, and acceleration at higher revs is impressive. There is one important performance exception, though: The turbo is slow to spool up at low engine turns, creating sponginess underfoot and uncertainty before you attain cruising speed. I eventually discovered that a slow, even throttle advancement produced better results than an impulsive stab. But I missed the feeling of power under pedal I remember from a Porsche Boxster.

    With its stubby but refined bubble shape, the TT is a modern design classic whose looks are only improved in this latest version. And thank goodness Audi didn’t follow BMW by adding a power retractable hardtop. The TTS’s convertible fabric roof is as tight as it needs to be and raises and lowers in seconds, never impinging, needless to say, on the surprisingly commodious trunk.

    Owning a TT is a very special experience these days. Only 951 new ones changed hands during the first half of the year, only a fraction of those were roadsters, and only a fraction of THOSE were ”S” roadsters. The $55,075 sticker price for my test car gives you one big clue why. Still, there is nothing else quite like it on the road, and I can begin to justify the purchase to myself if I think about it as an investment, like a mechanical Swiss watch, to be handed down to future generations.

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Adorable Audi: 2009 2010 TTS Roadster

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